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BTS and the art of Twitter

/ 04:38 PM October 29, 2018

This photo of BTS was posted on its Twitter after the Berlin show on Oct. 18. (@BTS_BigHit)

SEOUL — BTS is one of the most social media-savvy celebrities around.

The band has two Twitter accounts under its name, one managed by the label Big Hit Entertainment (@BTS_BigHit) and another operated by the members themselves (@BTS_twt). The former, followed by 12.8 million users, is more official in tone, primarily used for announcements, press releases and music videos. The latter, with 16.9 million people following, is more personal, serving mostly as a platform for communication with fans.

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On the second Twitter account, BTS members do what everybody on Twitter does — publish messages under 280 characters and uploads selfies and short clips. However, they do it so well that it prompted Bloomberg to say of their social media use as “likely (having) something to do with (BTS’ success in the US)” in its December 2017 piece.

According to the Bloomberg report, BTS was retweeted or liked on Twitter half a billion times last year, a Twitter engagement total that is “more than (those of) US President Donald Trump and Justin Bieber combined.”

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At the time of article’s publishing in 2017, the seven-member group “only” had 11.2 million followers, a lot less than Trump’s 44.9 million or Bieber’s 104 million. The fact that BTS managed to elicit far more engagement on its posts than high profile figures such as the US president or a Hollywood staple Bieber, shows that the boys must be doing something right.

Which makes us wonder: What makes BTS stand out so much in the Twitterverse?

One thing to note is the sheer quantity of their tweets. BTS joined Twitter in July 2011, but they didn’t publish their first tweet until Dec. 18, 2012. Fast-forward to October 2018, the band has accumulated over 11,200 tweets. Which means for the past five years and ten months, the band has tweeted out an average of 5 posts per day, including retweets and replies. If the numbers attest to anything, it’s their commitment to stay connected.

BTS knows how to keep it fresh. Perhaps due to the members being relatively young, all seven of them aged between early to mid-20s, they are well-versed in current social media trends. They hashtag and hyperlink their posts, sprinkle in just the right emoji, filter their photos.

Another impressive feat is the band’s digital clean slate. BTS has never suffered any of the Twitter blunders that other stars have, such as misspelling of a culturally significant name, erroneous publishing of private photos, or using vulgar language.

Experts and critics who jump to analyze the mechanism behind the success that is BTS often point to the band’s social media use. But what is glossed over by calculators and theories is the chance that “the Twitter act” could possibly be all genuine: You can’t fake some eleven-thousand posts for over five years. Perhaps there is no formula to be derived, except authentic spontaneity.

BTS is spending its 97th consecutive week on Billboard’s Social 50, as the current holder of record for most consecutive weeks on top of the social media popularity chart.

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TAGS: Asia, BTS, Entertainment, K-Pop, Social Media, South Korea, Twitter
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